Neocortical Microcircuits

Javier DeFelipe and Edward G. Jones

in Handbook of Brain Microcircuits

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print August 2010 | ISBN: 9780195389883
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199965137 | DOI:
Neocortical Microcircuits

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This chapter first describes some general aspects of the main neuronal components of the neocortex and then reflects on how these components are interconnected in a general, basic microcircuit. This is followed by a consideration of the variations that arise in this basic microcircuit (specialized microcircuits). There are numerous common features of cortical organization that make it possible to define an elementary cortical microcircuit centered on the pyramidal cell that may be common to all neocortical areas and to all mammalian species. However, there are numerous differences in laminar and sublaminar organization, in the nature and distributions of cortical afferents, and in the numbers, morphological variations, and neurochemical characteristics of the contributing cells across cortical areas and across species. These differences suggest the presence of specialized microcircuits that may be area and species specific and determined by evolutionary adaptations and functional demands.

Chapter.  3782 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development of the Nervous System

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